RALEIGH — North Carolina U.S. Rep. Ted Budd (NC-13) and U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) are leading an effort calling on North Carolina Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein to protect crisis pregnancy centers in the state and investigate vandalism that occurred at an Asheville clinic.
In a July 29 letter, the lawmakers urge Stein to use the Freedom of Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act of 1994 to protect Crisis Pregnancy Centers in North Carolina.
The lawmakers cite the attack on the Mountain Area Pregnancy Services in Asheville following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision returning abortion decisions to the states where red graffiti left by the attackers read “if abortions aren’t safe neither are you!”
“These despicable acts violate both North Carolina law and federal law. Specifically, the Freedom of Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act of 19943 protects clinics that support pregnant women and decline to perform abortions,” the letter to Stein reads. “This law empowers state Attorneys General such as yourself with the authority to seek civil relief for conduct that violates the FACE Act.”
The letter goes on to say that “An anti-life group known as ‘Jane’s Revenge’ has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against Crisis Pregnancy Centers, including the attack against Mountain Area Pregnancy Services. We urge you to use every resource at your disposal—both civil and criminal—to protect Crisis Pregnancy Centers, bring the perpetrators of these attacks to justice, and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”
The letter was also signed by U.S. Reps. Dan Bishop (R-09), Richard Hudson (R-08), and Greg Murphy (R-03).
The congressional members want Stein to provide an update by Aug. 15.
The request to Stein comes after 20 members of the U.S. House sent a letter in June to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland reminding him of his responsibility to defend Crisis Pregnancy Centers.
On June 24, state legislative leaders House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain) and Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Eden) called on Stein to take the necessary actions to reinstate North Carolina’s 20-week abortion ban. Stein would later refuse the request but not before taking to Twitter to defend abortion rights in the state while at the same time fundraising off the issue.
On July 21, Stein issued a formal statement that “The Department of Justice will not take action that would restrict women’s ability to make their own reproductive health care decisions.”
Moore and Berger have since sought outside counsel with the Alliance For Defending Freedom (ADF) and on July 27 filed an amicus brief with U.S. District Judge William Osteen asking that he vacate his 2019 ruling based on Roe v. Wade that blocked the state’s 20-week ban.
The brief takes aim at Stein’s public remarks, stating that “Within moments of the Dobbs decision being issued, the attorney general decried the ruling and posted on Twitter asking people to donate to his political campaign so that he could fight against pro-life laws,” and that “(Stein) publicly opposes the statutes he is tasked with defending and is engaged in fundraising efforts based on his opposition.”
“North Carolina’s abortion statutes are undeniably lawful under Dobbs, and there is no longer any basis for an injunction to shackle the state from pursuing its legitimate interest,” reads the brief.
“It’s time to allow North Carolina to better protect unborn lives and the health and safety of mothers,” ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle, director of the ADF Center for Life, said in a statement. “The state’s attorney general is refusing to do his job, which is to uphold the law and protect life, which is what the citizens of North Carolina have chosen to do through their elected lawmakers. We are urging the court to swiftly restore justice to North Carolina and allow the enforcement of its law.”